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Israel Announces Troop Withdrawal from Gaza as Supreme Court Strikes Down Netanyahu’s Judicial Reform

Israel has announced a significant troop withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, marking the first major reduction in ground forces since the deadly Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas militants that triggered the ongoing conflict.

Concurrently, Israel’s Supreme Court has struck down a key component of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial judicial overhaul, potentially reopening societal divisions that predated the war.

Israel’s Troop Withdrawal Plans

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The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) disclosed that in the coming weeks, five brigades would be withdrawn from Gaza for training and rest. This decision coincides with continued intense fighting in certain areas of Gaza. Military leaders emphasize their commitment to eradicating Hamas militants in the new year.

Long-Term Objectives of the War

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The IDF has asserted that the war’s objectives require a sustained effort, and preparations are being made accordingly.

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Return of Reservists To Their Families Expected

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Military spokesperson Daniel Hagari noted that these adaptations aim to ensure readiness for the challenges and conflicts that lie ahead in 2024. Furthermore, the return of reservists to their families and jobs is expected to alleviate the economic burden of the war on Israel.

Origins of the Ground Offensive

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The IDF’s ground offensive in Gaza was launched following the Oct. 7 attacks by the Hamas militant group on Israeli border communities. These attacks resulted in approximately 1,200 casualties, mostly civilians, and the kidnapping of around 240 individuals. Presently, approximately 130 Israeli and foreign hostages remain in captivity in Gaza. Israel’s military has reported the deaths of 172 of its troops.

Netanyahu’s Pledge of Continued Conflict

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed that the war against the Hamas militants will persist for “many more months,” despite growing international calls for a ceasefire amid mounting humanitarian concerns in Gaza.

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International Calls for Restraint

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While the United States supports Israel’s right to self-defense and supplies its military with weapons, it has urged Netanyahu to exercise greater caution to prevent civilian casualties.

Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

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The United Nations’ humanitarian affairs office has reported that an estimated 1.9 million people, constituting about 85% of Gaza’s population, have been displaced multiple times to seek safety from Israeli bombardment.

Casualty Figures and Demographics

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Since the commencement of the conflict, Gaza’s Health Ministry has recorded more than 21,900 Palestinian fatalities, with no distinction made between militants and civilians.

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The Majority of Dead Are Women and Children

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It is reported that approximately 70% of those killed were women and children. An additional 156 people were reported killed in Gaza on Monday.

Supreme Court’s Decision on Judicial Overhaul

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The Israeli Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn a key component of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul could rekindle tensions within the nation that had been simmering before the outbreak of hostilities.

Resurgence of Pre-War Tensions

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Pre-existing divisions within the country, which had led to months of mass protests against the government, had temporarily subsided as the focus shifted to the Gaza conflict. However, Monday’s court decision has the potential to reignite these tensions, impacting both domestic and military cohesion.

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Court’s Verdict on Legislative Reasonability

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The court’s ruling centered on a law passed in July, preventing judges from invalidating government decisions they deemed “unreasonable.” Critics argued that this law could open the door to corruption and the appointment of unqualified individuals to critical positions.

Impact on Justice System Overhaul

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The judicial overhaul, of which this law was the initial component, was put on hold following the Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack. This militant action resulted in extensive casualties and the abduction of numerous individuals.

Supreme Court’s Decision Details

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In an 8-7 decision, the Supreme Court justices invalidated the law due to the perceived harm it posed to Israel’s democratic character. Furthermore, the justices voted 12-3 in favor of their authority to overturn “Basic Laws,” pivotal pieces of legislation that serve as a quasi-constitution for Israel.

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Significant Setback for Netanyahu

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The court’s ruling represents a significant setback for Prime Minister Netanyahu and his hard-line allies. They contended that the final say regarding the legality of legislation and key decisions should rest with the national legislature, rather than the high court. The justices, however, asserted that the parliament does not possess “omnipotent” power.

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